NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Next week the Yale women's swimming and diving team will have six past, present and future Bulldogs vying for a spot on Team USA at the London Olympics. Molly Albrecht, Hayes Hyde and Athena Liao, along with three incoming freshmen will be competing at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Neb., from June 25 to July 2.
Albrecht was among the first on the team to qualify for the trials when she met the cut of 2:17.99 in the 200-meter backstroke at the 2011 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships in August of last year. Albrecht is seeded 130th out of 196 swimmers in the event with a time of 2:17.21. Both heats and semifinals will be on Saturday, June 30.
Hyde may have graduated from Yale last month but she is not finished swimming just yet. She will be representing Yale in the 200-meter butterfly, having made the cut of 2:16.49 at Winter Nationals last December. Hyde is seeded 128th out of 144 swimmers with a time of 2:16.31. Heats and semifinals will be on Thursday, June 28.
Also keeping the dream alive is Liao, who made the cut of 2:35.99 for the 200-meter breaststroke at Nationals last summer alongside Albrecht. Liao is seeded 85th out of 131 with a time of 2:34.77. She will be swimming for Champaign City YMCA from right near her hometown of Urbana, Ill. Heats and semifinals will be on Friday, June 29.
Incoming freshman Eva Fabian (Keene, N.H.) has met the trials standards in both the 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle. Fabian is seeded 85th out of 117 in the 400 free with a time of 4:18.45 from the Columbus Grand Prix in April of 2010, nearly a full second faster than the cutoff time of 4:19.39. In the 800 she is seeded 31st out of 71 with a time of 8:44.61 from Nationals two years ago, well below the trials cut of 8:50.49. Fabian will be swimming for Greenwood Memorial Swim Club in these relatively shorter events, as she is normally an open water swimmer. Fabian is the 2011 10k Open Water National Champion and the 2010 5k Open Water World Champion. Fabian finished fourth at the 2012 USA Swimming 10K Open Water National Championship back in April, missing out on a spot at the FINA Olympic Qualifier for Open Water Swimming earlier this month, but will have another shot at the Olympics in Omaha next week. The heats and finals of the 400 free are both scheduled for Tuesday, June 26. The heats of the 800 free will be on Saturday, June 30.
Another incoming freshman, Emma Smith (St. Charles, Ill.) has made cuts in the 200-meter and 400-meter IM events. In the 400 IM Smith is seeded 109th out of 136 with a time of 4:54.80 from the 2012 NCSA Junior Nationals in March of this year, beating the standard of 4:55.89. In the 200 IM Smith is seeded 106th out of 129 swimmers with a qualifying time of 2:19.08 at Nationals two years ago, just below the cut of 2:19.49. Smith will be representing St. Charles Swim Team. The heats and finals of the 400 IM are on Monday, June 25. The heats and semifinals of the 200 IM are on Wednesday, June 27.
A third incoming freshman, Ali Stephens-Pickeral (Danville, Va.), will be swimming in the 100-meter breaststroke. Stephens-Pickeral is seeded 98th out of 152 with a time of 1:11.69 from Winter Nationals last December, meeting the cut of 1:12.19. She will be representing Star Aquatics. Heats and semifinals are scheduled for Tuesday, June 26.
Rising senior Alexandra Forrester also qualified for the trials but will not be competing because of an injury. Forrester met the trials standards in three events: the 50-meter freestyle, the 200-meter butterfly and the 100-meter butterfly. Her best seeding would have been in the 100 fly, seventh with her time of 58.50 from Winter Nationals last December. Christine Magnuson, the silver medalist in the 100 fly from Beijing, is seeded second with a time of 57.32. After making the standard in December, Forrester went on to win the 100-yard butterfly at the 2012 Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships, breaking her own meet record in the prelims. She then finished sixth at the 2012 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships with a time of 51.93 to break her own Yale record.
Prelims will begin at 11 a.m. and finals at 7:45 p.m. EST each day at Omaha's CenturyLink Center. As many as 2,000 male and female swimmers are expected to compete at these Olympic Trials, and the top two finishers in each event will punch their tickets for the London Games.
Report filed by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity